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Lash Barge Houseboats

by Janice
(Durham, NC)

An aluminum lash barge houseboat hull

An aluminum lash barge houseboat hull

Have you ever heard of building a houseboat on a LASH barge? My dream houseboat would be a small floor plan from a regular land home built on a foundation that I could not only maneuver up and down coastlines, but be towed to other places such as Europe.

I have an advertisement that has Fiberglass LASH Barges for sale. They are recommending them for a floating home or office houseboat. Can these be powered or are they meant only for stationary houseboat living? If they are, what type of flat hull do you recommend to build a regular house on?

Thanks, Janice

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Reply - Answer
Janice, that's a great question since with the rising cost of real estate people are looking at other alternatives.

Lash Barges have been used from the beginning of time for shipping and cargo, and are now being seen as a good foundation for building floating stationary type houseboats.

As you have probably seen on many inland waters or rivers, they are generally towed or pushed by tugboats to their destinations.

If you were to pick one material to buy, you would find steel barges as the most popular construction material, and my pick for a new lash barge construction material would be aluminum.

I hope this all helps, and possibly some of our readers will share their pictures, experiences and knowledge about Lash Barge Houseboats.

IAN - from

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Comments for Lash Barge Houseboats

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Houseboat Foundations - my lash barge
by: Barry B.

My LASH barge has a three bedroom wood framed home at rest on it's upper deck - as a starter. I added a steel entrance housing at one end that is a simple box of 6'X6' and it centers a naval steel doorway.

A similar doorway has been middled on one side. The upper housing brings you to the top of a steel spiral staircase to the lower deck within the barge - about 12 feet down.

We have kept it in the delta of the San Joachim Valley for more than 30 years (sweetwater). Now we will be selling it because we are moving home to Europe. It draws about 3 feet and has but one minor dent.

It would be an ideal foundation for a houseboating ambition. This one is the all-steel version - a major plus. Most of the fiberglass/steel combos that I have seen have seam integrity problems where the glass meets the steel after all these years.

I will scrap it by the end of 2012 if it fails to be sold. It will appear on Craig's list to be aimed at Bay Area buyers.

Lash barge houseboats
by: Laurie

Dear Janice, your dream of owning a barge home is also mine. I am exploring all the ins and outs currently and would love to know if you've built one already or are in the works.

Thanks, Laurie

Boating Safety Course
by: Anonymous

Hello, Riveryachter - I have been intending to take a boating safety course for 2 years now. My home base is the Potomac River on the Virginia side. They offer courses twice yearly there.

My work situation, however, keeps me in Durham, NC and I haven't had a chance yet to check on classes in this location. Hopefully, in the Fall of this year, I can find the time to look in to them.

Thanks for you comment, you're right about taking first things, first!

Maneuvering & Towing a Lash Houseboat Barge
by: Janice Hile

Thanks for your comment Beached Guy. It was very helpful! Janice

Pushing , Stopping and Controlling a Houseboat Barge
by: Beached Guy

Pushing your own houseboat (barge) on any river would depend on several things.
How big of a barge and that means weight and windage more than length and beam.

How much current are you dealing with in both direction. A lot of newcomer figure that as long as they have power to go up river then coming down river is a piece of cake. NOT SO !!

Steering control and stopping power are not to be disregarded. I give you an example I encountered with a 27 foot sailboat powered by a 9.8 hp outboard. The motor did a reasonable job pushing the boat along. When it came time to dock, the motor wasn't able to control or stop the boat with a light tailwind.

How much work (money) are you prepared to put into the barge for engine, fuel tanks and controls.

Other then a commercial tug you might be able to persuade the owner of a displacement type boat of suitable size to give you a tow.

Price of Towing a Houseboat Barge?
by: Anonymous

Can someone direct me to a company that would have prices on towing a houseboat? Anybody have a ballpark figure for short or long distance towing? I just want a general idea.

Also, is there no way to be able to power a barge under its own steam just for putting up and down the Potomac River, let's say? (Please remember, I know nothing about houseboating and am starting from scratch!) Janice

Houseboat Options - looking for barge
by: Dreamcatcher

I am kinda at ground zero with wanting to build a houseboat also. Looking for Barge base. I do not see where to buy Lash Barges. Looking hopefully in western SC. Putting boat on Lake Keowee, sc.

getting started
by: Riveryachter

Janice, first, no matter what hold on to your dream. You are starting where we started, ground zero.

Second, please give this a thought: hook up with a power squadron boating safety course. You will get a much better idea of the real tasks and skills needed when you "just putter down the river".

Until we learn these rules of the road we have no idea what is really involved in operating a vessel on water. Good luck with your dream!

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